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U.S. Soccer Wire - November 26, 2007



U.S. MNT TO FACE DOMINICA OR BARBADOS IN FIRST MATCH OF
2010 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING IN JUNE;
VOTE NOW FOR THE 2007 ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AND “BEST OF U.S. SOCCER” AWARDS

U.S. MNT LEARNS OPPONENTS FOR FIRST ROUND OF WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: The U.S. Men’s National Team will open their quest to qualify for a sixth consecutive World Cup in June of 2008 in Group 1 with a home-and-away match series versus the winner of an opening-round series between the nations of Barbados and Dominica. The final match dates in June will be determined in the near future. The U.S. also learned their three potential opponents in one of the three Semifinal Round groups, where they could face Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba should each country advance out of their early-round mini-groups. Guatemala awaits the winner of Turks and Caicos Islands-St. Lucia in Group 1B, Trinidad & Tobago faces the winner of Bermuda-Cayman Islands in Group 1C, while Cuba meets the winner of the Aruba-Antigua and Barbuda in Group 1D. For the preliminary round, 23 teams were divided into 11 home-and-away series, with St. Vincent and the Grenadines earning a bye to the Second Round. In addition to the United States, the other 11 seeded teams are Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, and Trinidad & Tobago. For the Second Round, the 24 remaining teams are paired into 12 home-and-away series, with the winners based on aggregate goals advancing to the Semifinal Round. The Semifinal Round will take place from August to November in 2008. Playing a six-game round robin format, the top two finishers from each group will advance to the final six-team group that will be played in 2009.

VOTING CONTINUES FOR 2007 AOTY AND “BEST OF U.S. SOCCER” AWARDS: U.S. Soccer has announced the finalists for the 2007 Athlete of the Year and “Best of U.S. Soccer.” The sixth annual series, presented by Soccer America, the No. 1 soccer magazine in the United States, gives fans the opportunity to make their selections for the best in soccer in the United States. Fans can vote for Athlete of the Year and “Best of U.S. Soccer” awards once a day from now until Friday, Dec. 7, on ussoccer.com’s “Best of U.S. Soccer” blog page. As a reminder, an athlete may win the Young Athlete of the Year only once during their career.

2007 U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year Nominees – Vote Now
Female Athlete of the Year Candidates
Lori Chalupny - Midfielder
Kristine Lilly - Forward
Heather O'Reilly - Forward
Abby Wambach - Forward
Cat Whitehill - Defender

Male Athlete of the Year Candidates
DaMarcus Beasley - Midfielder
Carlos Bocanegra - Defender
Clint Dempsey - Forward/Midfielder
Landon Donovan - Midfielder/Forward
Tim Howard - Goalkeeper

Young Female Athlete of the Year Candidates
Rachel Buehler - Defender
Lauren Cheney - Forward
Tina DiMartino - Midfielder
Tobin Heath - Midfielder
Kelley O'Hara - Forward

Young Male Athlete of the Year Candidates
Mykell Bates - Defender
Michael Bradley - Midfielder
Chris Seitz - Goalkeeper
Danny Szetela - Midfielder
Sal Zizzo - Midfielder

2007 “Best of U.S. Soccer” Awards Categories – Vote Now
Best Action Photo
Best all_access Video
Best Assist
Best U.S. Fan Atmosphere
Best Goal (MNT)
Best Goal (WNT)
Best Performance (Player)
Best Performance (Team)
Best Soccer Bar
Best Soccer Blog
Best Store

TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR USA-MEXICO ON FEB. 6: Fans can now order their tickets for the clash between the 2007 CONCACAF Champion U.S. Men's National Team and Mexico on Feb. 6 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Tickets ranging in price levels from $35 to $165 and special edition U.S. Soccer on-field seats for $275 are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 713-629-3700, at all Houston area Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Fiesta stores, Macy’s, Wherehouse Music, FYE, and select HEB stores), and at the Reliant Stadium south ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). In an arrangement unique for this game, U.S. Soccer has divided the seating into U.S., Mexico and mixed/neutral fan sections at each price level. Groups of 30 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (a special VIP package which includes a premium ticket, a custom made official U.S. national team jersey with your name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits), are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com. Additionally, ticket packages that include a premium pregame party starting at 6 p.m. inside the Houston Texans' training bubble (located across from Reliant Stadium) are also on sale through ussoccer.com and Ticketmaster. Packages priced at $250 each include a lower midfield game ticket, an all-you-can-eat buffet with beer and wine, and pregame entertainment.

– YOUTH NATIONAL TEAMS UPDATE –

U.S. UNDER-20 MNT SET FOR THREE GAMES IN ARGENTINA: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team traveled to Argentina on Friday, Nov. 23, for an 11-day training camp that will include three international games. Head coach Thomas Rongen named an 18-player roster for the trip that includes Bryan Arguez and Anthony Wallace, two veterans of the team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, as well as six players who competed at the 2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Korea. Two Southampton FC (England) players, Kyle Davies and Andrew Giallombardo, will also be making their way to Argentina as well as four players from Major League Soccer. Abdusalam Ibrahim and Anthony Wallace will represent FC Dallas, Bryan Arguez and Jorge Flores will join the squad from DC United and Chivas USA, respectively. There was one change on the roster as forward Ben Speas joined the team instead of forward Ellis McLoughlin, who will remain with the Washington Huskies as they compete in the NCAA tournament. The team will face Paraguay on Nov. 26 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and two days later will take on the hosts. Rongen’s squad will round out their trip on December 1 against Uruguay.

U.S. U-20 MNT Schedule
Date        Opponent
Nov. 26    Paraguay
Nov. 28    Argentina
Dec. 1     Uruguay

NIKE FRIENDLIES SET FOR DEC. 6-9 IN BRADENTON, FLA.: The 2007 Nike Friendlies will take place from Dec. 6-9 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., with 54 teams competing across the Under-15/16 and Under-17/18 age groups. The U.S. Under-17 and Under-15 Mens’ National Teams will each be divided into two squads that will represent U.S. Soccer. The U.S. Under-17 ‘92s will compete against youth national teams from Brazil, Russia and Turkey in an international bracket, while the U-17 ‘91s and two U-15 Boys’ National Teams will compete against elite club teams. In addition to a full complement of national staff coaches, scouts from top European clubs, including Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United, Celtic and PSV Eindhoven will be on hand, along with college coaches from across the country. Fox Soccer Channel will televise two matches live as the U.S. U-17 MNT takes on the Russia U-17 MNT at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 6, and then faces the Brazil U-17 squad at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 8. FSC will also televise a match between the U.S. U-17 MNT and Turkey U-17 MNT on same-day delay at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 9.

U.S. U-15 GNT WINS ONE, DROPS TWO AT USYS ODP INTERREGIONALS: After defeating the Chile U-16 Girl’s National Team, 3-1, in its first match of the U.S. Youth Soccer ODP Thanksgiving Interregional Tournament on Nov. 19, the U.S. U-15 Girl’s National Team dropped its next two matches, losing 4-1 to Canada’s U-16s on Nov. 21 at Coral Springs High School and 3-0 to the Region I (East) U-16s on Nov. 23 at North Community Park in Coral Springs, Fla. The USA’s lone goal against Canada came from midfielder Samantha Mewis, who made the game close in the 71st minute before Tiffany Cameron sealed the match with two goals in less than two minutes in the 78th and 79th minutes. Against the Region I side stocked with U.S. U-16 National Team players, the USA gave up an own goal in the 38th minute on a misplayed back pass. The USA pushed numbers forward for a tying goal, but ended up giving two more goals, one in the 69th and 75th minutes. The U-15s end the year with a 5-2-4 overall record and 2-1-1 in international play, the most-ever international matches played by the U.S. U-15s in a calendar year.

2007 U.S. Youth Soccer ODP Thanksgiving Interregionals U.S. U-15 Girl’s National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Emily Oliver (Flossmoor, Ill.), Anna Sieloff (Troy, Mich.);
DEFENDERS (5): Briana Hovington (Lothian, Md.), Megan Oyster (Naperville, Ill.), Catherine Sessions (Woodbury, Minn.), Brittany Von Rueden (Mequon, Wis.), Carrie Whigman (Phoenix, Ariz.);
MIDFIELDERS (7): Michelle Cruz (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick (Pleasanton, Calif.), Natalia Ledezma (La Mirada, Calif.), Samantha Mewis (Hanson, Mass.), Mollie Pathman (Durham, N.C.), Haley Rosen (Palos Verdes, Calif.), Olivia Schultz (Hopkins, Minn.);
FORWARDS (3): Devin Marshall (Bonita, Calif.), Kealia Ohai (Draper, Utah), Cate Parchinski (Colorado Springs, Colo.).

2007 U.S. Youth Soccer ODP Thanksgiving Interregionals U.S. U-15 Girl’s National Team Schedule
Date       Matchup                                                        Result   U.S. Goal Scorer(s)
Nov. 19  U.S. U-15 GNT vs. Chile U-16 GNT         3-1 W     Devin Marshall, Olivia Schultz, Natalia Ledezma
Nov. 21  U.S. U-15 GNT vs. Canada U-16 GNT    1-4 L      Samantha Mewis
Nov. 23  U.S. U-15 GNT vs. Region I ‘91s              0-3 L       --

TWO U.S. U-14 BNTs WIN TWICE AT THANKSGIVING INTERREGIONAL: The U.S. Under-14 Boy’s National Team, with 36 players split into Blue and Grey teams, completed a successful weekend at the Thanksgiving Interregional in Orlando, Fla. The Blue team topped the Region I ODP team on Saturday, 4-1, with two goals from Atsouth Aya and two assists from Erick Sanchez. Sanchez scored two goals of his own on Sunday in the USA’s 4-0 win over Region II. Gabriel Palermo added three assists in that game. The Grey team came away with a 2-2 draw against Region IV on Saturday and a 3-1 victory over Region I on Sunday. Joel Salmeron and Victor Zamora each scored twice on the weekend while Brian Celis added two assists in two games.

U.S. Under-14 Boy’s National Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (4): Alexander Bello (Madrid, Spain), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Rosa, Calif.), Dakota Niedermeier (Arnold, Md.), Fernando Pina (Houston, Texas)
DEFENDERS (11): Atsouth Aya (Tampa, Fla.), Andrew Chang (Chicago, Ill.), Jerome Cristobal (Sterling Heights, Mich.), Alfred Edmonds (San Jose, Calif.), Malcolm Harris (Damascus, Md.), Gabriel Lock (Antelope, Calif.), Cory Miller (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Josh Miller (Portland, Ore.), Marc Pelosi (Sunnyvale, Calif.), Jalen Robinson (Cantonsville, Md.), Bennett Yort (Augusta, Ga.)
MIDFIELDERS (16): Kyle Bitterman (Lancaster, Pa.), Bryan Celis (Houston, Texas), Emmanuel Chavez (Chicago, Ill.), Matthew Dunn (Dallas, Texas), Eric Gonzales (Corona, Calif.), Leonard Kusina (Fairbanks, Alaska), Collin Martin (Chevy Chase, Md.), Ryan Masch (San Jose, Calif.), Jesus Medina (Waukegan, Ill)., Alexander Olofson (Raleigh, N.C.) Oscar Ortega (San Ysidro, Calif.), Gabriel Palermo (Jupiter, Fla.), Joel Salmeron (Cicero, Ill.), Forest Sisk (Sudbury, Md.), Ross Tetro (Marlboro, N.J.), Todd Wharton (Glenn Allen, Va.)
FORWARDS (5): Tren Biswell (Tulare, Calif.), Devin Devoy (North Alteboro, Mass.), Erick Sanchez (Edinburg, Texas), Esteban Rodriguez (Bell Gardens, Calif.), Victor Zamora (Rockford, Ill.)

– U.S. SOCCER COACHING UPDATE –

U-17 MNT ASSISTANT COACHES NAMED: U.S. Soccer has announced three assistant coaches who will join Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Wilmer Cabrera at U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. Joining Cabrera and Brian Maisonneuve, who will begin his third year with the team in 2008, Oscar Pareja, Paul Caffrey and goalkeeper coach Paul Grafer will join the team before the spring semester begins in January. Pareja joins the team from Major League Soccer’s F.C. Dallas, where he has been an assistant coach for the past two years. Caffrey is a former coach at Suffolk County Community College in New York, where he was named the 2005 National Junior College Region XV Coach of the Year. He played professionally for the Long Island Rough Riders, and later served as an assistant coach for the team. A former MLS goalkeeper with the MetroStars, Grafer spent four seasons with the team and was between the pipes for two playoff victories in 2000. Cabrera was hired as head coach of the Under-17 Men’s National Team on Oct. 25, 2007, and had been with the team at IMG Academy since early November.

U.S. SOCCER COACHING SYMPOSIUM TO BE HELD AT NIKE FRIENDLIES: The U.S. Soccer Coaching Department will conduct a Coaching Symposium in conjunction with the 2007 Nike Friendlies from Dec. 6-9 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The three-day symposium will offer coaches an opportunity to interact with members of the U.S. Men’s National Team coaching staff, as well as other coaches associated with U.S. Soccer. More information is available at the Coaches Section of ussoccer.com.

COACHING SYMPOSIUM TO TAKE PLACE DEC. 12-14: The Elite Club Seminar Program will conduct a Coaching Symposium from Dec. 12-14, 2007, in Raleigh, N.C. The three-day seminar will focus on ‘’Females in Soccer’’ and the impact that elite soccer programs have on young female players, coaches and referees. The symposium is open to all coaches, and “A” Licensed coaches will receive four (4) Continuing Education Credits for their attendance at this symposium. Interested coaches should contact Tom Goodman at President@worldclasssoccer.net. More information is available at http://www.ussoccer.com/coaches/continuing/sympSchedule/index.jsp.html.

U.S. SOCCER WINTER COACHING SCHOOLS SET: U.S. Soccer's National Coaching Schools have been set for the first week of January, giving every coach a chance to obtain a FIFA recognized “A”, “B” or “C” level license while increasing their knowledge of the game. All January "A," "B" and "C" coaching schools will take place from Jan. 2-10, 2007, in three warm-weather locations. The National “A” License course will take place at the University of Tampa in Tampa, Fla., and The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The National “B” and “C” License courses will be offered at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and a soon to be announced West Coast site. Also in January is the third edition of U.S. Soccer's National Goalkeeping License course, which will be held Jan. 4-11 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. More information is available in the Coaches Section of ussoccer.com.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DARTFISH TECHNOLOGY: Dartfish is offering free Webinars to demonstrate the benefits of the Connect Plus product. Sign up at https://www.gotomeeting.com/register/960381083 for the next 30-minute educational online seminar on Nov. 29 at 11:30 a.m. ET. Get the competitive edge U.S. National Team coaches have by using the same tools they use. Whether you’re reviewing game footage, analyzing techniques or preparing for your next competition, Dartfish offers an array of video analysis software to make a difference in your program. Learn more at www.dartfish.com.

– AROUND THE SOCCER NATION –

APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED FOR PASSBACK TOUR: The United States Soccer Foundation, the major charitable arm of U.S. Soccer, is now accepting applications for its 2008 "Passback Tour". The tour is a series of soccer skills clinics for urban disadvantaged children across the country held on a state-of-the-art field by some of the best coaches and players around. The 2008 event will consist of an eight-city tour with about 100 participants in each city. More information, including an application to participate in the tour, is available at www.passback.org/tour.

U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION HOLIDAY AUCTION: The U.S. Soccer Foundation will begin conducting its Holiday Auction on Thursday, Nov. 15, when fans and constituents can view the assorted soccer memorabilia that will be up for auction this year at www.ussoccerfoundation.org/auction. The collection for this year includes autographed balls and jerseys from clubs and players, including Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Liverpool, Rangers FC and Paris St. German. Money collected from the auction will benefit the David Vanole Memorial Fund. The auction ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 13.

NOMINATIONS BEING ACCEPTED FOR 2008 WERNER FRICKER BUILDER AWARD: Nominations are now being accepted for the 2008 U.S. Soccer Werner Fricker Builder Award, which is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have worked tirelessly in furthering the interest of the sport of soccer, without regard to personal recognition or advancement. The award was created in 2002 and is the greatest recognition bestowed by U.S. Soccer on its membership. The award is designed to honor those who have created or fostered programs that will outlast their own active involvement in the sport and that establish a lasting legacy in the history and structure of soccer in the United States. Interested persons can nominate individuals for the annual Werner Fricker Builder Award by downloading the form at ussoccer.com and mailing it to U.S. Soccer, c/o the Werner Fricker Builder Award Committee, 1801 S. Prairie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616 or emailing it to wernerfrickeraward@ussoccer.org. This form is also available at ussoccer.com, and applications must be postmarked or sent by January 1, 2008 (download application).

*** “CENTER CIRCLE” SPOTLIGHT ***

PEAK PERFORMER: Led by two goals from U.S. U-21 National Team forward Michele Weissenhofer and one from Brittany Bock, a member of the U.S. U-20s at that last FIFA World Championship in Russia, Notre Dame upset North Carolina in the NCAA tournament. The victory sends the Fighting Irish to the quarterfinals of the National Championship where they will host Duke later this week. The winner of that match gains entry to the Final Four, which will be contested in December on the campus of the University of Texas.

SOCCER SHOCKER: The England National Team failed to qualify for next year's Euro 2008 championship after losing 3-2 to Croatia on Wednesday. Needing only a draw to ensure their passage into the tournament, England crumbled spectacularly in front a packed house at Wembley. Manager Steve McClaren was promptly fired, setting off a worldwide man hunt to fill one of the most high-pressure jobs in all of sports.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: The UEFA Champions League continues on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and while all eyes are still on Europe, the UEFA Euro 2008 Final Draw will be televised live in the United States at 6 a.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 2, on ESPN2 and ESPNDeportes.

QUOTABLE: "We're pretty excited to get the process started. Now it becomes real. We've been playing in good competitions over the last year, but starting next year is when it really counts. We have the outline for World Cup qualifying laid out for us. The coaching staff will start getting prepared, and as players we can look foward to our potential opponents. It's a long road, but the prize at the end is the World Cup and we are anxious to get going."
-- U.S. MNT Defender and Captain Carlos Bocanegra, discussing the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Draw.

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